A study by the University of Oxford and France’s National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD) has shown that tropical trees in the Australian region have been dying out much faster since the 1980s due to the effects of climate change.
Research The increase in tree mortality is attributed to global warming, as it increases drying power, the process of removing moisture from the atmosphere.
As a result, forests deteriorate as trees lose the ability to photosynthesize, making it difficult to keep global maximum temperatures below the 2 °C target, as set out in the Paris Agreement against Climate Change.
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To conduct the study, the researchers used long-term data records in Australian rainforests and found that the average death rate of trees in these forests has doubled over the past four decades.
They also found that trees live about half as long and this is a consistent pattern across all species and locations in the region.
“It was a shock to find such a significant increase in tree mortality and, moreover, a consistent trend in the diversity of species and locations,” said David Baumann, the study’s lead author and a researcher at Oxford.
“A notable result of this study is that we have not only detected an increase in mortality, but also that this increase appears to have started in the 1980s, indicating that Earth’s natural system has been able to respond to climate change over the decades.” Responding to,” note the author.
For the researchers, as has happened with the Great Barrier Reef’s corals, climate change is changing Australia’s tropical forests as well.
“The potential driving factor we identified, the increasing arid strength of the atmosphere due to global warming, suggests that a similar increase in tree mortality could occur in the world’s tropical forests.” Inquiry, Yadvinder Malhi.
If so, forests could soon become a source of carbon, and the challenge of limiting global warming to below 2 °C “becomes more urgent and more difficult”, warn the ecologist.
Intact tropical forests are large carbon reserves and have so far been “carbon sinks”, acting as a moderate brake on the pace of climate change by absorbing about 12 percent of human-generated CO2 emissions.
Furthermore, when the researchers analyzed the data, they observed that the loss of biomass derived from this increase in mortality in recent decades has not been offset by the increase in biomass generated by the birth of new trees, meaning that these It is becoming increasingly difficult for forests to offset carbon emissions.